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Officials seeking wading pool renovations

BY REBECCA MORIN | NOVEMBER 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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Iowa City officials are seeking approval of a City Park pool renovation that will not only accommodate patrons but also comply with new criteria in the Americans with Disabilities Act.

All municipal pools must be accessible under the 2010 ADA standards. However, the City Park pool is not compliant with the current standards because the wading pool has raised edges. Officials hope to replace the existing pool with a zero-edge pool.

“If we don’t address [the wading pool], we can’t use it,” said Chad Dyson, the director of the Recreation Division. “We use it for leisure, swim lessons, and for the toddler age range; it’s a pretty important component, and we need to have it in operation.”

The Iowa City City Council will vote on a resolution to set a public hearing for the renovation project at today’s meeting. Officials will then have to vote three times on the project.

The project is part of the Capital Improvement Plan, and it will be funded through that, Dyson said. He said construction is expected to start in the spring of 2014, and it will be finished by Memorial Day.

City Councilor Terry Dickens said he approves of the pool’s renovation.

“It’s a great place, and if it’s in good shape, people can use it,” Dickens said. “People can learn how to swim at an early age … it’s great they’re doing some improvements because it’s important to have.”

Dickens — a lifelong Iowa City resident — said he has seen numerous restorations throughout the years.

“Well I think it’s very important to keep it up to date,” Dickens said. “The pool has been there for 60 or 80 years, and it’s been updated over periods of time in a reasonable manner.”

While the city will update the wading pool, Terry Cunningham, advocate and program associate at the Center for Disabilities and Development, said compliancy issues usually lie with pools at hotels and motels.

“Hotels and motels argue about having accessibility,” Cunningham said. “One of the excuses they use is that people with disabilities don’t travel, so they don’t stay in motels or hotels.”

Cunningham said renovating the pool would mostly affect children, but will help with growth for those with disabilities.

“The wading pool is mainly directed for children,” Cunningham said. “Children with disabilities get an opportunity to socialize and use their imagination that non-disabled students already get to do.”

The project not only includes replacing the existing wading pool, but will also include improvements to the City Park facility. Officials hope to extend the perimeter fence and establish picnic areas within the pool fence.

“The project also entails developing more landscape area,” Dyson said. “We also hope to add more shade structures depending on the number of bids for the project. It will be nice to renovate and especially get the wading pool compliant.”


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